Cobham Mission Systems

Cobham VigilOX™ Pilot Breathing Sensors Fly on F-18 and T-45


Cobham VigilOX™ Pilot Breathing Sensors Fly on F-18 and T-45

Cobham sensors collecting data to help discern conditions around physiological events.

Cobham plc announces at the Farnborough International Air Show 2018 (Hall 4, Stand 4150) it is supporting NAVAIR F-18 and T-45 test flights with its Cobham VigilOX™ breathing sensors, as acknowledged by Rear Admiral Sara Joyner during the House Armed Services Committee Hearing in February, 2018. VigilOX™ is the first pilot worn sensing system to comprehensively capture real-time physiological, breathing gas, and cockpit environmental data during flight, which will be used to help inform conditions around unexplained physiological episodes.  Cobham, along with the NAVAIR test team and aerospace physiologists, are processing and reviewing the data, which will be correlated to reported hypoxia-like symptoms in support of root cause corrective action. This data will form the basis of a predictive algorithm that will ultimately drive oxygen equipment to automatically adjust oxygen dose as needed to protect the pilot.  

“Having these developmental sensors flying will show us what happens in the aircraft and physiologically to the pilot under extreme flight conditions should a physiological episode occur.  This knowledge will inform us as we design a mitigative response to protect the pilot,” said Rob Schaeffer, Product Director, Environmental Systems at Cobham Mission Systems.  The Cobham VigilOX™ sensor system marks a significant milestone in being able to monitor pilot physiology in flight.  In parallel with data collection efforts, Cobham is moving towards a “predict and protect” capability that will take our sensors to the next level by incorporating them into oxygen equipment that will autocorrect flow based on sensor input.

Cobham is investing in its future next generation oxygen system by designing equipment today that has the inherent ability to communicate, synch with, and connect with our sensing technologies as they evolve, which is a step towards ARGOS™, Cobham’s integrated oxygen system goal.  ARGOS™, Auto Response Guided Oxygen System, will be a smart data driven, human machine interface, that has the ability to control the entire pilot oxygen system from “air source to mask”.  Comprised of a suite of technologies, ARGOS™ smart oxygen system products will be able to be used individually or together for increased layers of vigilance. 

“By wearing our VigilOX™ sensor system during flight, pilots today are laying the groundwork for the breakthroughs needed to protect future pilots coming up behind them,” said Rob Schaeffer.  Through initial testing of the developmental product, Cobham has begun to fund changes required for mainstream integration into the fleet. In future iterations, VigilOX™ sensors will be integrated into new and existing life support systems and equipment. 

In addition to monitoring the pilot, Cobham also produces a CRU-123 solid state oxygen monitor, installed on nearly all Navy T-45 aircraft, that captures critical oxygen concentrator performance data.   T-45 marked the first flight where CRU-123 and VigilOX™ flew together on the same aircraft providing the most comprehensive picture of aircraft and pilot physiological interaction from air source to mask.  VigilOX™ sensors, worn by the pilot, are aircraft agnostic.  The CRU-123 oxygen monitor is easily aircraft retrofitable. 

Cobham, with its world leading, highly successful suite of oxygen concentrators, pilot and aircraft mounted oxygen regulators, and parachutist oxygen systems, aims to be the leading provider of physiological event management solutions.

About Cobham Mission Systems

The most capable critical control solutions for extreme environments.

As the world’s leading supplier of critical control solutions, we help our customers to increase the safety and mission capabilities of their personnel and equipment in extreme environments.

Our proven and trusted solutions in air-to-air refuelling, life support and weapons carriage, deliver assured performance and class-leading through-life costs that enable our customers to bring complex projects to market quickly, and with minimal risk.

About Cobham

Cobham offers an innovative range of technologies and services to solve challenging problems in commercial, defence and security markets, from deep space to the depths of the ocean.


Cobham Mission Systems

Rob Schaeffer

Product Director, Environmental Systems

+1 (716) 667 6568


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